How to Sleep Better
'Sleep Hygiene' Solutions for Better Sleep
5. Do not expose your self to bright light if you need
to get up at night. Use a small night-light instead.
6. Nicotine is a stimulant and should be avoided
particularly near bedtime and upon night awakenings. Having a smoke before bed,
although it may feel relaxing, is actually putting a stimulant into your
7. Caffeine is also a stimulant and is present in coffee
(100-200 mg), soda (50-75 mg), tea (50-75 mg), and various over-the-counter
medications. Caffeine should be discontinued at least four to six hours before
bedtime. If you consume large amounts of caffeine and you cut your self off too
quickly, beware; you may get headaches that could keep you awake.
8. Although alcohol is a depressant and may help you
fall asleep, the subsequent metabolism that clears it from your body when you
are sleeping causes a withdrawal syndrome. This withdrawal causes awakenings
and is often associated with nightmares and sweats.
9. A light snack may be sleep-inducing, but a heavy meal
too close to bedtime interferes with sleep. Stay away from protein and stick to
carbohydrates or dairy products. Milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan,
which has been shown in research to help people go to sleep. So milk and
cookies or crackers (without chocolate) may be useful and taste good as
10. Do not exercise vigorously just before bed, if you
are the type of person who is aroused by exercise. If this is the case, it may
be best to exercise in the morning or afternoon (preferably an aerobic workout,
like running or walking).
11. Does your pet sleep with you? This, too, may cause
arousals from either allergies or their movements in the bed. Thus, Fido and
Kitty may be better off on the floor than on your sheets.
Good sleep hygiene can have a tremendous impact upon getting
better sleep. You should wake-up feeling refreshed and alert, and you should
generally not feel sleepy during the day. If this is not the case, poor sleep
hygiene may be the culprit, but it is very important to consider that you may
have an unrecognized sleep disorder. Many, many sleep disorders go unrecognized
for years, leading to unnecessary suffering, poor quality of life, accidents,
and great expense. Since it is clear how critical sound sleep is to your health
and well-being, if you are not sleeping well, see your doctor or a sleep